LANSING, Mich. — Leaders from The Nature Conservancy and Michigan Agri-Business Association (MABA) today hailed an announcement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that the Saginaw Bay Watershed Conservation Partnership was selected to receive $10 million in funding under the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which was createdunder the 2014 Farm Bill.
“Today’s action will magnify our ability to communicate the benefits of conservation to growers across the watershed,” said Helen Taylor, state director of Michigan for The NatureConservancy. “This is an important step forward to accelerate the restoration of Saginaw Bay.”
“There’s no quick fix on water quality, but this new public-private partnership under RCPP in the Saginaw Bay Watershed represents an important first step,” said Jim Byrum, president of MABA. “Protecting and improving water quality in the Saginaw Bay will take time, effort, and creativity. We look forward to working with The Nature Conservancy, Michigan State University and all the partners involved in this innovative effort.”
The Saginaw Bay Partnership represents a unique collaboration between conservation organizations, agronomy retailers, higher education institutions, commodity groups, agribusinesses and state and federal agencies. The partnership will aim to shift the paradigm in the field of on-farm conservation by putting innovative conservation tools, developed by Conservancy and Michigan State University scientists, into the hands of Certified Crop Advisors and agronomy retailers throughout the Saginaw Bay Watershed.
Both leaders reiterated their appreciation for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, for her efforts to champion final passage of the 2014 Farm Bill and her leadership in developing the RCPP.
Under the program, crop advisors will have new tools to directly assist their Saginaw Bay and Thumb area customers in accessing funding for on-farm conservation to implement critical conservation practices.
Additional details will be forthcoming as The Nature Conservancy and MABA work together with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to convene partners and move the project forward.
For more information please contact Chuck Lippstreu, Michigan Agri-Business Association at (517) 242-5124 or [email protected]
For more information please contact Melissa Molenda, The Nature Conservancy at (517) 230-0818 or [email protected]
The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to protect the mostecologically important lands and waters around the world for nature and people. To date, theConservancy and its 1 million members have been responsible for the protection of more than120 million acres worldwide, including more than 371,000 acres in Michigan. The NatureConservancy is working to make the Great Lakes watershed among the most effectivelymanaged ecosystems on Earth. For more information, visit http://nature.org/michigan.
The Michigan Agri-Business Association (MABA) represents more than 400 agribusinesses,including crop input suppliers, agronomy companies and others across the scope of Michiganagriculture. The Association has led efforts to ensure Michigan’s agriculture sector is proactiveon water quality issues and helps to lead the way on protecting and improving our Great Lakes.Additional information is available at www.miagbiz.org.